16 Day Te Wai Pounamu

16 Day Te Wai Pounamu

Te Wai Pounamou is the Maori name for New Zealand's South Island. Our unique 16 day self-drive itinerary encircles the entire South Island ensuring you don't miss a thing!

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Wellington to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $5312 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 16 Days
Tour Code: GNTWP

Inclusions

15 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
2 night stopovers in the Marlborough Sounds, Nelson, Abel Tasman Park & Franz Josef
3 night stopover in majestic Queenstown
Return water taxis to Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman Naional Park accommodation
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion
See icebergs & glaciers up close on your Tasman Glacier Explorer excursion
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
Admissions outlined in the Itinerary
Airport transfers to/from your accommodation
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Conditions

Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel May 2018 – March 2019. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Wellington

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Wellington. Nestled in green hills and within a protective harbour, the capital city of Wellington has a laid back vibe yet offers some of the best shopping, arts and nightlife in the country. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation, the remainder of the day at leisure to explore.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Wellington - Picton - Marlborough Sounds

You will be transferred to the ferry terminal where you will join the Interislander ferry ready to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. Where will you sit? Inside or outside? Try to vary your experience if you can, as some of the sights are better seen without the barrier of a window – watch as boats bob on Wellington harbour, disappearing in the distance as you head into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, chugging away to Picton.

Once you’re on dry land again, pick up a rental car and journey to Havelock, a small town famed for its Green Shell Mussels. Between bites to eat, explore the forest glades of Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve; or for something a little more adventurous, ascend via the ridgeline to a 417m peak. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Marlborough Sounds

A day to relax and marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Resort staff will share their love of the Sounds with you through the range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips.

The wide beach access is great for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming and sea-kayaking as well as a wealth of walks and meanderings in the immediate vicinity. A massage or spa treatment at your resort will complete your relaxation.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Marlborough Sounds - Picton - Nelson

Return to Picton this morning by water taxi. On arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to Nelson at your leisure. The region, which is the sunniest in New Zealand, has for many years attracted residents who love to use their imagination.

There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, including traditional and contemporary Maori artists. From the northern edge of the Southern Alps across the fertile plains and out to a great sweep of beaches, Nelson is beautifully laid out under a generous sun that delivers New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Nelson - Kaiteriteri - Awaroa

This morning drive to Marahau to connect with the Aqua taxi transfer to Awaroa Lodge. Located at the quiet northern end of Abel Tasman National Park, it is the perfect vantage point to explore the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track – the most beautiful of all New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Abel Tasman National Park

Today there is time to explore what the Abel Tamsan National Park has to offer. Choose a walk from a few minutes to several hours, on any section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Golden sand beaches, native forest, spectacular coastal views and swimming opportunities in calm, azure waters are all highlights of the park. Every journey is unique from paddling the coastline by sea kayak to walking through native forests and across vast coastal inlets to secluded bays of golden sands and turquoise waters.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Awaroa - Kaiteriteri - Nelson

Return today by water taxi to Marahau and collect your rental car. Continue on to Nelson and enjoy an afternoon relaxing in this charming city, based on a harbour that is home to the country’s busiest fishing port.

There are more than 300 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you. Or just relax. Sit in the sun, sip a wine from one of the local vineyards, and dine on the famous Nelson Bay scallops.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Nelson - Punakaiki

Head south down State Highway 6 through Murchison, making your way to the West Coast. The Murchison Skyline Walkway zigzags through mixed beech and podocarp forest, native ferns, and bracken and broom covered slopes on the outskirts of Murchison – it’s worth breaking your journey here for the 90 minute walk before you navigate the awesome Buller Gorge.

At Hawks Crag, the road has been hacked out of solid rock – be ready for the dramatic overhang, lending shade and character to the route. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea.

Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The track has many lookouts and areas for fantastic photos to be taken of the Pancake Rocks, Blowholes and the beautiful mountain views.

The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful. The Truman Track is a short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a sprawling headland with stunning views up and down the local shoreline.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Punakaiki - Greymouth - Franz Josef

The road to Greymouth is breathtaking. White capped breakers and rugged rocks on one side, bush-clad mountains on the other side. Travel south along the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800’s.

Enjoy views of the Southern Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west as you make your way to the Glacier townships of Fox and Franz Josef. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Glaciers

There’s lots to explore in this area – you can take your own time walking up to the glacier, going to the Okarito Lagoon, or join a guided walk on the glacier, take a heli-hike adventure, or a scenic flight over both glaciers.

There’s also quad biking through rainforest and riverbeds or even a half hour drive back down to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson. The Franz Josef Glacier hot pools are open for a hot bathe amongst the rainforest! Let us know if you’d like us to include any of these activities in your itinerary.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Franz Josef - Haast - Wanaka - Queenstown

Farewell Franz Josef and travel down the West Coast, alongside braided riverbeds, native forests and roadside waterfalls before climbing up over the Haast Pass and through Mount Aspiring National Park.

Stop the car, stretch your legs and drink in the scenery, as impressive mountains touch the sky, remnants of the Ice Age glacial valley. Take your time and drive along the shores of Lakes Hawea, arriving at the action-packed city of Queenstown. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Queenstown

It’s time to make memories in Queenstown, the capital of adrenaline, beauty and local foodie culture. Pick and choose from a long list of adventures – from thrilling funyak tours along the Dart River and horse-riding in Glenorchy, to panning for gold in Arrowtown or taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu via the TSS Earnslaw, there is certainly something for every speed.

Or, if you’re not ready to break the spell of the last few days a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Queenstown is also a great base from which to explore the Fiordland National Park. Today, leave your car behind and board a luxury glass-roofed coach to the Doubtful Sound.

Travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Manapouri. Then cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm before boarding a coach and crossing the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland and Doubtful Sound’s most dense rainforest.

On reaching Deep Cove, board a modern catamaran vessel, the Patea Explorer for a three hour cruise exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and mountains all the way out to the Tasman Sea.

Doubtful Sound is home to bottlenose dolphins and fur seals, when in season, you may even spot the rare Fiordland crested penguin. An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region’s history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. On the return cruise, the vessel’s engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘sound of silence’.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
Doubtful Sound Overnight Upgrade Package

To experience the best of Doubtful Sound, upgrade to an overnight cruise and instead of returning to Queenstown, stay onboard the Fiordland Navigator. Return to Queenstown by coach the next day. This upgrade package adds an extra day to your itinerary.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Queenstown - Arrowtown - Mt Cook

Make sure to stop off at the historic and beautiful mining village of Arrowtown today before journeying through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to arrive at Mt Cook National Park a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern hemisphere (Optional Ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions).

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Mt Cook - Tasman Glacier - Tekapo - Christchurch

Experience the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest, in the most unique way possible. This morning, an experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier where you will also get to touch and taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake.

Later visit beautiful Lake Tekapo and stop to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. Leaving the High Country, cross the vast Canterbury Plains to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Depart Christchurch

Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will be returning your car to the airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Your choice of accommodation

5/5.0

There are 13 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

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Value For Money
Accommodation
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Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

5
03/01/2018
Toni Harris was fantastic with planning the itinerary. Knowledgeable and patient. No amendments or additions were too much....and there were many. One of which I learnt I should have listened to her advice. The company rates a AAA from me for their integrity and honesty in that, in my harassed pre-holiday state, I mistakenly paid twice for the holiday. Yes twice.. Within days of my doing so, Toni emailed to inform me that the amount would be refunded into my account. I would certainly be dealing again with Relaxing Journeys.
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5
06/03/2017
Mani, once again you delivered an outstanding tour for us, no surprise after North Island tour in 2015. Kay and I thank you, South Island was just wonderful, the Boutique Hotels are unique, the people so friendly, nothing is a problem, spoilt wherever we went. Looking at maybe a winter tour late Sep 2018 in South Island. Thanks mate and cheers
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5
02/03/2017
We communicated with Toni for a few months for this trip. We added two days to the itinerary to stay a little longer at certain stops. Instead of staying in Queenstown for Doubtful Sound we asked to stay in Te Anau with extra day to visit Milford Sound. A few days into our trip we had a blow out and changed our minds about driving after Abel Tasman National Park. We emailed and called Toni. Relaxing Journeys worked out the Intercity bus vouchers for us within a few hours. The vouchers were emailed to our Nelson hotels so the desk agent could print them for us. It definitely was more relaxing when someone else did the driving. We love most of our hotels except for the Copthorne in Queenstown (terrible upkeep, dated bedspread, and dirty grout in bathroom), Punakaiki Resort (mildew on shower head) and Hermitage in Mt. Cook (tiny room and bathroom for the price). We are really happy with our rooms at The Portage Hotel (Marlborough Sounds), Rutherford Hotel (Nelson), Abel Tasman Lodge (Kowhai Chalet), Radfords on the Lake (Te Anau) and Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Overall we had a great time in the South Island and are happy we chose Relaxing Journeys. Their quick response to our change of transportation method was well delivered without affecting our itinerary.
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5
25/02/2017
Wonderful, comprehensive, perfectly planned itineraries. Mani was our trip planner and all arrangements were perfect. He was extremely helpful in customizing our trip. 16 Day Customized Te Wai Pounamu Self Drive - 2 cars, 4 people. We will be back. New Zealand is a wonderful country.
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5
21/02/2017
From beginning to end everything went very smoothly and we had a fantastic time.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
01/01/2017
Exceptional tours and professional and friendly guides. Service through Relaxing Journeys was excellent. Mani did an outstanding job putting this trip together. Only comment is that our accommodations in Queenstown (The Dairy) had very small rooms for our taste and were probably over rated. Staff was very friendly and helpful and the breakfasts were excellent though.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
08/04/2016
Mani helped me plan the perfect \"special needs\" self-drive trip of the south island of New Zealand. We had very open communications during the planning time frame. My husband had his doubts about using any travel agent however, now that we are home and looking back on our wonderful holiday, my husband keeps saying, \"Mani sure did a great job for us\". Everything was perfect. We had some concerns regarding the weather (Autumn) but even that was perfect. (Sorry Mani, we can't give you credit for that)...All of our accommodation places were aware of my special needs and were prepared to assist me upon our arrival at each location. The recommended sites were pure New Zealand and Mani made sure that we had the opportunities to experience the Maori culture, view flora and fauna, get great photos and enjoy beautiful New Zealand wines. We highly recommend Relaxing Journeys to everyone, especially seniors and people with special needs. When planning your trip, be realistic about your abilities and what YOU want to get out of your trip. Allow yourself time... New Zealand is so beautiful, sometimes you just want to sit and take it all in. Thank you Mani and Relaxing Journeys, for helping us create a perfect New Zealand Holiday.
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5
13/01/2016
We had a wonderful time exploring New Zealand! Our agent, Toni, really listened to what we wanted to do and how we liked to travel and customized our trip accordingly. Everything promised was delivered and it was a virtually hassle free trip. We loved every second!
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5
21/12/2015
My partner and I had a wonderful time on our holiday; we were blown away by the beauty of New Zealand's South Island. Everything ran so smoothly from the car hire through to the \"Kruse\" navigation system and the voucher system for accommodation and tours. We both had a laugh and likened the step by step itinerary to Mission Impossible, your mission if your choose to accept it ...... although it was more like mission enjoyable (very much an adventure). The accommodation that was booked for us was superb; we enjoyed the mix between B&B and hotel. Highlight was the o/n cruise on the Doubtful Sound on Xmas day, perfect. I would like to thank the team at Relaxing Journeys for organising our holiday so effortlessly.
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5
21/02/2015
The trip was awesome, the scenery spectacular, the people extraordinarily nice and helpful! The self guided tour designed by Mani was near perfect. The itinerary worked very well and the places we stayed overnight were all wonderful! The trip exceeded all my expectations!
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Optionals

New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 16 Day Te Wai Pounamu

16 Day Te Wai Pounamu
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNTWP
From (NZD) $5312 per person
Save (NZD) $531 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

Rating:
13 reviews (5/5)

Te Wai Pounamou is the Maori name for New Zealand's South Island. Our unique 16 day self-drive itinerary encircles the entire South Island ensuring yo... Read More

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16 Day Te Wai Pounamu
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